Lost my first patient

  1. He wasn't technically "MY" patient. He has been in our nursing home for awhile, and has been really sick for a week or so. I'm a CNA. I came in for my shift the other night and the nurse told me he probably wouldn't make it through the shift.

    He had a lot of family there who I did everything I could to make them comfortable. The nurse, knowing that I'm going to nursing school this fall, would send me in every couple hours to check his vitals. I apprecatiated her doing that, though it was awkward with 20 or so of his family members there. Especially when the batteries died in my digital thermometer, then his BP was so week, the little electronic BP cuff she had me use wouldn't even get a reading. I ended up just checking his carotid pulse to get a count. Then I finished turning him and giving him peri-care, more for the famiy's sake than the patients at that point.

    Later, the nurse told me that it would have been okay for me to ask the family to step out for a minute.

    What made the night hard was the guy's roommate. Because there were so many people there, he couldnt' go in his room most of the day. AFter dinner, he started complaining about going to bed. When his roommate finally expired, he began shouting across the unit, "HEY! CAN I GO TO BED NOW?"

    I tried to explain to him that the family needed some time to grieve with their lost loved one, and all he said was, "they've had all day! How much more time do they need?" With that, I went and got the ADON. She came and took him off the unit and kept him at the nurses station with her until the funeral home and family had left.

    The family was laughing watching me bolt in and out of patient's rooms answering call lights and getting people to bed. Not in a bad way, but they could tell I had my hands full.

    At the end of the night, the nurse told me and the other aide that we did a good job of taking care of the dying patient and his family, while at the same time, making sure everyone else got the care they needed and also dealing with a problem patient. I didn't really interact much with the family. Another aide did, but he knows them much better, so I figured I'd just stay out of the way and let him talk to them.

    Anyway, I just wanted to share this experience with everyone. This was my first time going through something like this in my new career.

    Tim
    •  
  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   justanothernurse
    Wow, I wish all of our nurses responded the way you did! You'll never forget your first patient to expire (even though he wasn't 'yours'). Your experience sounds like the best of a tough circumstance. Best wishes to you as you continue in your career, and don't ever lose the focus you have.



    Quote from tmiller027
    He wasn't technically "MY" patient. He has been in our nursing home for awhile, and has been really sick for a week or so. I'm a CNA. I came in for my shift the other night and the nurse told me he probably wouldn't make it through the shift.

    He had a lot of family there who I did everything I could to make them comfortable. The nurse, knowing that I'm going to nursing school this fall, would send me in every couple hours to check his vitals. I apprecatiated her doing that, though it was awkward with 20 or so of his family members there. Especially when the batteries died in my digital thermometer, then his BP was so week, the little electronic BP cuff she had me use wouldn't even get a reading. I ended up just checking his carotid pulse to get a count. Then I finished turning him and giving him peri-care, more for the famiy's sake than the patients at that point.

    Later, the nurse told me that it would have been okay for me to ask the family to step out for a minute.

    What made the night hard was the guy's roommate. Because there were so many people there, he couldnt' go in his room most of the day. AFter dinner, he started complaining about going to bed. When his roommate finally expired, he began shouting across the unit, "HEY! CAN I GO TO BED NOW?"

    I tried to explain to him that the family needed some time to grieve with their lost loved one, and all he said was, "they've had all day! How much more time do they need?" With that, I went and got the ADON. She came and took him off the unit and kept him at the nurses station with her until the funeral home and family had left.

    The family was laughing watching me bolt in and out of patient's rooms answering call lights and getting people to bed. Not in a bad way, but they could tell I had my hands full.

    At the end of the night, the nurse told me and the other aide that we did a good job of taking care of the dying patient and his family, while at the same time, making sure everyone else got the care they needed and also dealing with a problem patient. I didn't really interact much with the family. Another aide did, but he knows them much better, so I figured I'd just stay out of the way and let him talk to them.

    Anyway, I just wanted to share this experience with everyone. This was my first time going through something like this in my new career.

    Tim
  4. by   tmiller027
    Quote from justanothernurse
    Wow, I wish all of our nurses responded the way you did! You'll never forget your first patient to expire (even though he wasn't 'yours'). Your experience sounds like the best of a tough circumstance. Best wishes to you as you continue in your career, and don't ever lose the focus you have.
    Thanks for the kind words. I'm glad I was able to keep my wits about me so I could do my job properly.
  5. by   BabyRN2Be
    Tim,

    It sounds like you did a great job. You definitely have the compassion that is needed during this transition for the family.

    Sounds like your night was pretty busy, I find it really great that even though it sounded like you were really busy, you tended to the family and gave the individual care that was needed at a time like this.

    I'm just curious, I'm kind of appalled at his roommate's reaction. If it was him dying, wouldn't he want his family around him? I know that people are sick and they may not be in the most compassionate frame of mind. With all the family and given the pt's prognosis, was it not possible to place the dying pt in a private room? Of course, this might not be available in your hospital.

    Great job, though!
  6. by   Tweety
    Good job Tim. You must be great to work with. You're going to be an awesome RN, I can tell.
  7. by   happystudent
    Tim, You should be very proud of yourself. The familiy of the pt was lucky to have you as their fathers cna..........
  8. by   tmiller027
    Quote from BabyRN2Be
    Tim,

    It sounds like you did a great job. You definitely have the compassion that is needed during this transition for the family.

    Sounds like your night was pretty busy, I find it really great that even though it sounded like you were really busy, you tended to the family and gave the individual care that was needed at a time like this.

    I'm just curious, I'm kind of appalled at his roommate's reaction. If it was him dying, wouldn't he want his family around him? I know that people are sick and they may not be in the most compassionate frame of mind. With all the family and given the pt's prognosis, was it not possible to place the dying pt in a private room? Of course, this might not be available in your hospital.

    Great job, though!
    Thank you. Its always pretty busy there. THat side of the building has 3 units, 22 patients per unit with 2 CNAs on my unit, one of which is a float to the other two units that only have one CNA each. Its a nursing home btw and not a hospital. They just don't have the space for a private room for people.

    And yes, that roommate and his family would expect us to wait on them hand and foot if he were the one who was dying. Part of the problem is, the CNAs that usually work that unit have him spoiled. They run to him and put him to bed first every night because he's so demanding. The rest of us make him wait his turn like everyone else. Just becuase he's more responsive than other patients doesn't mean he should get to lie down first. But when we work on that part, it makes it harder on us because of the other aides spoiling him.
  9. by   tmiller027
    Quote from 3rdShiftGuy
    Good job Tim. You must be great to work with. You're going to be an awesome RN, I can tell.

    Thank you!! I try to be good to work with. There's a handful of us there who bend over backwards to get things done and to help each other out. On the nights when we work, things run pretty smooth. Theres some others who won't lift a finger to help anyone else and who barely get their own work done. :angryfire My goal when I started this field was to NOT be one of them lol
  10. by   tmiller027
    Quote from happystudent
    Tim, You should be very proud of yourself. The familiy of the pt was lucky to have you as their fathers cna..........
    Well thank you! How sweet of you to say that. I really didn't feel like I'd done that much. There wasn't much that I could do but a few little things, but I guess in that situation those make all the difference.
  11. by   Tweety
    Quote from tmiller027
    Thank you!! I try to be good to work with. There's a handful of us there who bend over backwards to get things done and to help each other out. On the nights when we work, things run pretty smooth. Theres some others who won't lift a finger to help anyone else and who barely get their own work done. :angryfire My goal when I started this field was to NOT be one of them lol
    Woot! It's tough sometimes to not become part of a culture of slackers, but to rise above and be a team player, or be the lone one. But at the end of the day we have only ourselves to look in the mirror. Kudos!

close